The smartphone seems to be well on its way to becoming the next wallet; and Apple could be pushing that movement along.

Reports from several outlets suggest the Cupertino, Calif.-based electronics giant has plans to put a near-field communications chip in the next versions of the iPhone and iPad for contactless payments technology. The latest report, from blog Apple Insider, says Apple has put up two job postings for two global payment platforms managers.

The original job posting included the requirement of knowing radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. RFID is a way to wirelessly transmit data and is used in NFC chips. Further, the job posting says the manager will develop, new payment types and processes for the various business units.

Talk of the iPhone and iPad coming equipped with an NFC chip have heated up in recent days. Richard Doherty, director of the consulting firm Envisioneering Group, said his sources told him Apple will introduce a NFC chip in the iPad 2 and iPhone 5. He cited unnamed engineers working on the project.

If those clues weren't enough, Apple has also filed for several NFC related patents. Last April, the company filed for an NFC-focused service whereby users could scan a ticket near their iPhone, and get content related to that event.

Contactless payment technology is starting to enter the mainstream retail community slowly but surely. McDonald's recently announced it was installing a tap-and-go technology with Visa in 1,200 U.K. stores. Starbucks announced its latest app will have a scanning technology. Starbucks's technology, however, isn't NFC related.

Apple did not respond to a call for comment.

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